Sunday, April 13, 2008

Lincecum Report – Start #3 - Preview

Last Start:

Despite not being very economical with his pitches and only throwing 53.8% first pitch strikes, Lincecum was fantastic in his last start. It is hard to complain about 7 Ks to only 1 walk. What I enjoyed most about the last start was his ability to dominate an opponent he should control every time he takes the hill. Everyone is familiar with the concept of “playing down to your opponent” – well Lincecum did not fall into that trap and it was nice to see.

Stat line (for the last game):
IP: 6, K: 7, BB: 1, H: 7, ER: 1

Stat line (for the season):
IP: 10, K: 11, BB: 5, H: 11, ER: 2, ERA: 1.80


Pitching Psychology:

Lincecum has been charting pitches for the last three games and he is well aware that the Cardinals have struggled to score runs in the first 4 innings (1 run total in the first three games of the series). This fact and the last two starts have to give him a lot of confidence going into this start. I have to believe that Lincecum may come into this game with the most confidence he will have all season.


Opponent Overview:

The Cardinals have had a really nice start to their season. They have won in a variety of ways including being no hit for six innings and end up winning the game 8-7 in the game yesterday. The biggest surprise has been their starting pitching which was considered pathetic by most as the season started but they have been better than good. As for their offense – as all Giants fans know – if you have one dominant hitter in the middle of your lineup, you can easily disguise the shortcomings of the rest of the starting nine. Pulols has been his normal self - hitting .390 to start the season with 3 home runs. Now if the rest of the line-up gets it together (especially Ankiel, Glaus and Duncan), the Cardinals could be a serious contender come August.


Three Things to Remember:

The 1st Pitch:
Lincecum will have to have a better first pitch percentage than he had against the Padres if he wants to post numbers similar against the Cardinals.

Duncan, Pujols and Ankiel:
I fully expect this to be the 2, 3 and 4 hitters for the Cardinals today and all three of these guys are serious threats to hit a home run every time they step to the plate. If Lincecum is able to keep the bases empty when facing any and all of these guys he should be in good shape. However, if he finds himself in the stretch with this part of the line-up coming to the plate, it could be a long day.

Location:
While locating your pitches is always important, it’s importance is magnified when you are facing a good fastball hitting team. If Lincecum is all over the place with his pitches early, he will be more susceptible to leaving a ball over the middle of plate to the wrong hitter.


Prediction:

This game has young pitcher over-confidence and over-preparation written all over it. I think Lincecum fails to locate his pitches and ends up giving up a couple of big extra base hits. The Giants are going to lose and I don’t think it will be as close as most would predict.

Final Score:
Cardinals 7 - Giants 2

Lincecum’s Stat Line:
IP: 5, K: 5, BB: 4, H: 6, ER: 4

1 comment:

Suckaflea said...

NEVER DOUBT LINCECUM!

He had a Sanchez-esque game. He wasn't locating as well as his previos two games, but still managed 11Ks, but couldn't get into the seventh because of pitch count.


RBI.


RT, thoughts on Bowker, Bocock, Freddie Lewis, etc. ?